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Over the Hedge is a newspaper comic created, written, and drawn by Michael Fry and T. Lewis. It follows the adventure of three woodland animals: a turtle named Verne, a raccoon, RJ, and Hammy, a squirrel. The animals have to deal with their home being turned into suburbs. The strip focuses on their problems of dealing with the increasing amounts of humans as well as the enticing technologies they bring with them.
In 2006, an animated film based on the comic was released by Dreamworks Animation. The plot of the movie involves RJ and the others as they first find out about the neighborhood that has been constructed in their home.
Over The Hedge comics contains examples of:
- Animal Stereotypes: Squirrel, raccoon, turtles, and others are played straight.
- Animal Talk
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From when RJ upset the balance of nature by making Verne popular, and then the Nature Police showed up:
Nature Police: You're under arrest
- Art Evolution: The art was more scratchy in the first few years of the strip before taking on a somewhat smoother inking style. Also, the characters' shapes have gradually morphed (most notably RJ, whose head used to be rounder as opposed to a more realistic raccoon-like face; Verne's nose has also gotten much bigger).
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Hammy, among other animals.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Usually done by Hammy, but sometimes the other characters partake as well.
- Butt Monkey: Verne
- Given the sheer extent of his mistreatment, he might have graduated (been downgraded?) to The Chew Toy.
- Caffeine Bullet Time: Like his movie counterpart, Hammy's had this a few times in the strip, to the point of traveling around the world within a few seconds in one strip.
- Calvin Ball: One arc had RJ playing "Rolf", his own version of golf with no set rules. Among other things, this involves throwing the ball with a slingshot, or calling 50 mulligans in one round.
- Character Blog: Hammy has a Twitter account.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
- Verne's nephew, Plushie (or Plushy; Fry and Lewis could never make up their minds).
- In some early strips, RJ had a crush on a dog named Dotty.
- Velma and Luby, a female turtle and raccoon who were Distaff Counterparts to Verne and RJ.
- Some early strips had a beaver named Howard and a paranoid mole named Carl.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Hammy, even more than his film counterpart.
- Con Man: RJ.
- Divergent Character Evolution: Over time, RJ and Verne grew to be less similar.
- Dumb Is Good: In an arc when Hammy turned smart, Verne deliberately convinced him that he'd be happier dumb.
- Fat Idiot: Most of the suburbanites in the comic.
- Friendship Moment: They're few and rather far between, but they're there.
- Funny Animal: Pretty much the entire cast.
- Genius Ditz: Hammy becomes brilliant when he takes Ritalin.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: In one strip in 2000, RJ wanted to settle down, and one of Verne's suggestions was that he 'could find a life partner'; RJ asked, "Isn't that you?" Verne responded, "NO! I mean, NOOOOO...at least I don't think...NOOOOO!"
- I Am Not Weasel: In one strip, RJ says he always thought Verne was "some sort of iguana-thingy." Crosses over into a parody of the trope when Verne says, "How can a guy forget being called an 'iguana thingy?'" and RJ responds, "You're a guy?"
- Inherently Funny Words: The number of "spleen"s in the strip is off the charts.
- Jerkass: RJ, especially to Verne. Borders on Jerk Sue, given his popularity.
- Keet: Hammy.
- No Mouth: RJ, except for a few early strips which had him yelling. He's even stuck his tongue out with no mouth visible around it.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: The female turtles in an August 2011 arc involving Verne becoming popular have them.
- Nutty Squirrel: Hammy.
- Only Sane Man: Verne, all the way.
- Product Placement: Twinkies are Hammy's and RJ's Trademark Favorite Food.
- Shout-Out: The January 29, 2012 strip has the TARDIS visiting Verne. Seriously.
- Status Quo Is God: Invoked in the aforementioned Verne becoming popular arc. See the trope page for more detail.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A story arc in which Sammy Squirrel's mirror world counterpart Hammy ended up in the same world as them ended with Hammy sticking around and Sammy getting sent away. This seems to have been completely forgotten about as strips referencing the past imply that RJ and Verne's squirrel friend has been Hammy the whole time.
- Before Sammy showed up, the character was Hammy, but he became roadkill early in the strip's run. One might assume the mirror-world Hammy was the actual Hammy from an alternate universe where Hammy never died and, thus, Sammy had never shown up.
- The Movie
- The Philosopher: Verne.
- Rascally Raccoon: RJ.
- Sweet Tooth: RJ.
- Talking Animal
- Technology Marches On: A 1996 strip has RJ and Verne pointing out that a neighbor's computer has a 140 megahertz processor, a three-gigabyte hard drive, 36 megabytes of RAM.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Luby and Velma both had long eyelashes and a bow.
- Title Drop:
RJ: What brings you to our neck of the woods?